TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE
This interview with Rikard Kottelin (aka Tiwaz) of The Legion was done over the internet by Vincent Eldefors in February 2006.
As The Legion released their debut album "Unseen To Creation" in 2004 they quickly rose to the top of the international black metal scene. Raging, chaotic and technically focused black metal unlike anything heard before. 2006 brings us their sophomore effort "Revocation" which promises this to be the blackest year of the 21st century. We dig deeper into this very interesting band who have recently been joined by the Norwegian vocalist Kjetil Hektoen.
You are just about release your second full-length album "Revocation", are you satisfied with the final result and the response you've had so far?
We are of course really pleased with the final result. We made some mistakes during the mixing of "Revocation". There wasn't enough time to be careful because we had to do the mixdown in just three days. But we are, all in all, quite pleased with the outcome.
What do you think the main differences are between "Revocation" and "Unseen To Creation"?
I think that “Unseen…” actually is a bit more aggressive than “Revocation”. It’s more straight forward and “in your face”. On the other hand, “Revocation” is a lot more gloomy and dark. It’s also much more dynamic. To really make an album interesting for forty minutes it has to be varied and dynamic. I think we all came to the conclusion that we don’t have to play fast all the time. We varied the songs with some slow parts here and there, and by doing so, the fast parts feel even faster and more violent. The sound on “Revocation” is also much rawer than “Unseen…” which has a quite sharp and clean sound.
You recorded the album in two different studios, your own Art Decay studio and Devo's Endarker studio, what were the reasons for this?
Yeah, first we recorded the drums and guitars at Art Deacy. Then we went to Endarker to add some additional guitars and bass guitar. Then, home again to record the vocals the orchestral arraignments and to do the samples. Then back to Endarker to do the final mixdown. The reason for this is that it has become very important for us to do stuff in our own pace. If we want to take two days off in the middle of the recording session, we can do that. You can’t really do that if you in a regular studio. And by recording the way we did, we can assure that all of us perform 100%. It also gives us a chance to experiment a bit more in the studio, like test different drum and guitar sounds, create samples and put a lot of effort in the vocal department. We’ll probably do all the work in Art Decay on the next album.
The cover art was done by renowned artist Kris Verwimp, did he have free hands or did you have a clear vision of what you wanted?
We came to Kris with a basic idea for a cover, a concept that we felt where suitable for the songs we’ve created. It should somehow visualize a bit of the feeling you get from listening to our songs. From that point, we pretty much gave him free hands. When Kris does his artwork, he does something that I really respect him for. He wants a copy of the songs so that he can listen to them while he paints and that gets him inspired so that he can create an artwork that is suitable for the music. We where really satisfied with his work on the “Unseen…” album and on the “Revocation” album, I really think that Kris surpassed himself.
What can you tell us about the lyrical content of "Revocation"? Are the lyrics important to you?
Since the lyrics are a part of the whole experience, they are important. They must also in someway reflect the feeling that the music is supposed to give. But for us the music is always primary, and the lyrics secondary. The lyrics cover pretty much the same themes that on “Unseen…” They deal with the dark sides of the human mind, apocalyptic visions, possession, the evil forces of this world and other dimensions and much more. There are often satanic undertones in our lyrics but we'd rather let the listener create his own vision instead of proclaiming the satanic ideology.
You have been going through some line-up changes lately, have these affected your activities as a band? Will they affect your music in the future do you think?
Well, the vocal situation has been a problem for us from time to time. We decided to part ways with Anders (the vocalist on "Unseen..."), because we weren’t really happy with his vocal performance. We immediately started to search for a replacement, but this time we all agreed on that we shouldn’t settle for just anybody that could sing (scream) the way we wanted. We also wanted a person that felt right on a personal level and also was motivated and could contribute with own ideas. It took a while before we found anyone who felt right for the band and that resulted in, us not being able to perform live for a while. After a long search and many good offers we finally found Kjetil. He had put vocals on some of our songs and sent them to us as MP3 and I believe that's what made us interested in him. If this has any affect on our music in the future, it will most certainty be a positive one.
How did you get in touch with the Norwegian vocalist Kjetil Hektoen? Does he still live in Norway?
As I said in the previous question, he sent us a couple of our songs on which he had recorded his vocals. We liked what we heard and invited him do to an audition. Not only did he deliver the vocals in a great way, he also proved himself to be a really cool guy. He still lives in Norway and travels to Sweden when we need to rehearse.
So far only a few sporadic shows have been announced in support of the new album, will there be a full tour before the summer?
Nothing confirmed yet but we have got some offers that are under consideration.
It’s not easy to find something that works for everybody. Since we can’t make a living out of the music, we have to keep our day jobs, and it gets problematic to be away from work for months. Hopefully we’ll get out on a small European tour in late April or early May. But as I said, nothing confirmed yet.
What was it like touring with Belphegor in 2004? Do you have any fun stories to tell from spreading darkness through the European midlands?
Hehe, I’ve got a lot of sick and twisted stories but it's nothing I wish to reveal here. You know, the code of the road man… What I CAN tell you is that the Belphegor guys where really awesome, both as individuals and as musicians. I wouldn’t think twice about going on tour with them again.
You are one of the most technically minded black metal bands around today, do you write songs with the intention of making complex and dynamic music or does it just come natural?
Actually, we try to keep things as simple as we can. When songs gets complex and technical it’s just because we like the way it sounds and that we enjoy playing it. The songs are often very simple at first but evolves during the creation process, so I guess that it comes natural to us.
What do you think about the Swedish and Nordic black metal scene as a whole today? Are there any other bands you find worthy of their names? Don't forget to mention Marduk or you will have to look for a new drummer.
Well, I still think there are some cool bands around, that's for sure, but I think the whole scene is moving into different directions. On one hand we have this new "true religious black metal" advancing. On the other we have some bands that used to be really good but now days they seem to be in it mostly for the money and such. That's pretty sad I think. I won't mention any names here, sorry... he he.
What is it like being a black metal musician and a metal fan in general living in Jönköping, the religious capital of Sweden?
Besides the fact that the town is full of christian retards, the town pretty much lacks a solid metal scene. There isn’t any good clubs to play at, there isn’t a lot of metal bands here and not a lot of metal fans. But somehow, I think that we are a bit strengthened by the fact that we always must work against the stream. And all the christian imbeciles just makes our hate and aggression even stronger, something we try to use when we create our songs and turn to our benefit.
What are your thoughts on the Christian metal community and the affiliates of Rivel Records?
Well, I couldn't care less about those morons. White metal, Jesus metal or what ever they call their shit, is only a poor replica of the true metal scene, which they tried to twist around to fit their disgusting religious believes. Truly pathetic.
The end has finally come, do you have any words of deep wisdom to deliver to our writers?
Thanks for the interview and hope to see you all on tour! Get updated on tour info at our webpage www.legion.nu
Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer our questions and best of luck in the future!
Links of interest: